Advantages of a two-house household

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:36 am
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
For those who don't know, we live in an up/down duplex. Marna, Ian and I live upstairs and Lorayne has the downstairs, with two spare rooms for any guests of upstairs or downstairs.

Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.

It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.

So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.

Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.

Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.

They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.

Also, the lack of dog.

Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.

His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.

And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.

ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.

*sigh*
fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
As promised, some books I've read:

Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
★★★★

Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.

I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. read more )

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. read more )

Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. read more )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. read more )

The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★

Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. read more )

A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★

I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. read more )

There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.

What I got was so much more. read more )

Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★

A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.

I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. read more )
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
One of the benefits of the new mood-stabilizer is that I'm reading again. After reading my way through a shit-ton of fanfic, I'm now switching between fanfic and pro novels.

I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.

I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.

A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.

Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.

I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.

It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.

Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).

The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.

If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.

Of castles and bacon thieves

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:23 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Today we were incredibly productive. We hiked up to High Castle, which technically is neither a castle nor very high, but I am still proud of us, dammit. It's quite a view. Some of the original castle remains, but it's not particularly impressive compared to the sight of all of Lviv.

there are cats and other things )
[personal profile] blogcutter
Food security. Food deserts. The hundred kilometre or hundred metre diet. Eating disorders. Comfort food. Discomfort food. Fast food. Slow food. Vegetarianism. Veganism. Maybe we are what we eat, but our relationship with food can certainly be conflicted and complicated!

These days we tend pretty much to go with the flow food-wise. Today, for example, we went up to the Shouldice Farms stand on Prince of Wales, bought strawberries and tomatoes, and proceeded on to Parkdale Market where we got some of the first local corn of the season, some blueberries, some broccoli, some more tomatoes (little one this time) and some green peppers. We cooked up the corn for lunch and then went to Purple Cow and had ice cream cones for dessert.

In the summer and the fall, when good fresh food is in season, life's good. I can eat strawberries every day throughout the local growing season and never get tired of them. Add a dash of Grand Marnier (which we've come to refer to as "joy juice") and some whipped cream and angel food cake, and that's even better. And I think for sure there's a blueberry pie and maybe a few blueberry muffins in our not-too-distant future! We did give Haskap berries a try this year too - not bad but not as good as blueberries (though they're apparently much hardier and can survive lower temperatures.

Strawberries are something I liked as a child too. I may or may not have related in this blog the story of how, at the age of about seven or eight, I broke out in hives all over my body. Alarmed, my mother took me to the paediatrician and the only thing she could think of that could have caused them was the strawberries I'd eaten the evening before. She said that moving forward I should generally avoid strawberries but after I recovered, perhaps occasionally risk "literally one strawberry" and see what happened.

I probably didn't eat too many more strawberries for the rest of that summer, but of course once they literally became forbidden fruit, I craved them all the more. When they were subsequently reintegrated into my diet, I had no further recurrences of hives and strawberries and strawberry shortcake once again took their place as one of my favoured desserts.

When my daughter was going to day care (between the ages of five and eight), there used to be field trips to pick berries every summer. In those days, she wasn't too crazy about the berries themselves but liked the cream and cake! That changed as she got older and her kids are fond of berries too, especially blueberries!

Corn is a bit of a different story. I rarely ate corn when I was growing up and from my mother's perspective, corn was something you fed to the chickens! My dad was a little more open-minded about food, I think - in fact, he often used to polish off the food that no one else wanted. My mother had various comments about the matter, one of her commonest being that he was "digging his grave with his teeth". He was, however, very thin and frail during his last days and weeks, so I seriously doubt that it was anything he ate that ultimately finished him off!

Anyway, corn on the cob is another of those foods that I rarely get tired of - though it's certainly helpful to have the dental floss close at hand afterwards!

Looking back at the title I chose for this post, I realize I haven't really said much about UNEASY relationships with food. I think I was planning to comment on things like the recent Netflix video about eating disorders in which Lily Collins (who herself battled an eating disorder) starred, or the recent evidence about the dangers of artificial sweeteners and wire barbecue brushes, or the requirement for restaurant chains to post calorie counts for their offerings... but that'll have to wait for another day.

In Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:13 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
This is a gorgeous city, maybe even more than Kiev. It's also very much a City Of Coffee, and I highly approve. There's a café where, if you go into the basement, you can "mine" for coffee in the walls, but besides that, when we asked the hotel guy where to get good coffee, he looked at us weirdly and said, "it's ALL good coffee." A random selection would suggest he's right.

We did a walking tour, saw various churches, the Catholic Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, all of which seem very close together by contemporary standards. Lviv has changed hands over its history, and the references to Galicia made me do a Google and feel like an idiot because Lviv was in the heart of what had been Galicia, and that's where my grandfather was from.

Anyway, here is the new friend we made:



more pictures )

Here, have some pictures of Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:03 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
We took the overnight train and got in at 6 am. Our hotel booking isn't until 2 pm, so we've just been wandering around and taking pictures of all the pretty architecture.

click to embiggen )

Some more pictures

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:02 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Our last day in Kiev until the end of our trip. Here's a few quick glimpses of things we've seen, as we walked and walked. This is going to be a bunch of tiny pictures 'cause I'm writing from a café before we get on a night train for Lviv.

click for larger versions )

A summer weekend

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:22 pm
dagibbs: (Default)
[personal profile] dagibbs
I think this was the first weekend this year that truly felt like summer -- hot and humid. It's felt, so far, like we've mostly had an extended rainy spring.

I climbed at Lac Sam on Saturday with a small crew, then had dinner with the family back in Ottawa -- my sister, brother-in-law and nieces (2) were in town for a 2 weeks (except BIL, only a week) and headed out this morning, so met up with them for the last dinner before they left.

Today we climbed at Mont Rigaud as it was the only area without a 70-80% POP starting in the afternoon. We did get a full day of good, but hot, climbing there.

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Cheese

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:32 pm
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
[personal profile] foxfirefey posting in [community profile] omnomnom
This is inspired by a place by my work that does something similar, but with pear compote.

Ingredients:

* Sharp white cheddar (mine came from CostCo, the Coastal stuff)
* Rosemary bread (mine came from Trader Joe's)
* Lemon curd (another thing from Trader Joe's)
* Butter (I did unsalted, the cheddar is plenty salty enough)

Tools:

* Toaster Oven
* Frying pan and oven

Steps:

* Lightly toast one side of the rosemary bread in the oven
* One one slice of rosemary bread, put a pile of chopped up white cheddar chunks on the toasted side. Put it back into the toaster oven until the cheese gets pretty melty.
* While that's going on, spread lemon curd on the other piece of bread, on the toasted side.
* Put a pat of butter in your frying pan and melt it
* Take your melted cheesy bread out of the toaster oven, put both pieces together so the cheese of one side is against the lemon curd of the other
* Put your sandwich into the pan, swish it around, flip it to the other side--this will make sure that both sides have butter as you pan toast.
* Toast both sides of your sandwich in the pan with the butter, flipping as necessary. When it's toasted to your liking, put it on a plate.
* Tada! Fancy grilled cheese.

Mezhyhirya

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:37 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Viktor Yanyukovitch was president of the Ukraine from 2010-2014, until he was fairly dramatically deposed and fled to Russia as he is currently wanted for treason here. By all accounts, he was incredibly corrupt, and acquired the massive Mezhyhirya estate with public funds. As wealth and corruption is no guarantee of taste, when asked which architectural style he wanted to build his massive palaces in, he must have replied, "fuckin' all of them," because when protestors walked in and took over the place in 2014, they were appalled not just at the excesses (which included a car museum, a zoo, a golf course, several tennis courts, and orchards), but at his alarming taste in decor.

It now belongs to the people and is a destination for Ukrainians to have weddings, bike around, and generally point and laugh. Also there are gigantic thrones and Greco-Roman ruins for no apparent reason.

pictures! )

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:03 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Tonight I watched All the President's Men with my mom, since I keep seeing references to the Watergate scandal these days and I wanted to get a better understanding of it--so many sources assume such an intimate knowledge of it that I find them hard to untangle, so seeing it in movie format made it easier to understand. I came away with two big thoughts:

1. The quote I've always heard about Watergate is, "It's not the crime, it's the coverup." Which makes sense in the specific sense of the Washington Post's investigation of Nixon--they kept uncovering facts that in themselves were completely inconsequential; what led them on was the fact that shortly after, the person who disclosed that fact would issue a terrified denial that the fact was untrue, they had never said the fact was true, they'd never heard of anyone connected to the fact, and they'd never issued a previous statement about the fact at all.

Whereas the truth I'd never quite realized is that Nixon's crimes were in fact far worse than what he did to cover them up. I grew up hearing vague explanations like "Nixon paid someone to keep quiet" or "Nixon recorded conversations" as to what the wrongdoing was--not the final, absolute fact, which was that Nixon put the government to work destroying his political opponents, and only got caught at a bare tenth of it. And I can't tell if that's because the grandparents who set the political tone of my childhood were very politically conservative, or... what. But a lot of hippie conspiracy theories seem a lot less crazy to me now.

2. Oh my god, seeing all those board rooms full of very important white men making all the decisions, seeing women continually relegated to the sidelines, only getting tiny hints of people of colour, is bizarre. That's... that's what the world used to look like. "Mona, take my calls," a reporter barks out as he dashes out to chase a lead. Is that actually Mona's job? Is Mona also a reporter, who has to chase her own leads down while being ignored and asked for coffee, Peggy-Carter-like? My god, there are still people who remember that world, who think they live there.

Kiev, day 1

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:49 am
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I admittedly did little but eating and sleeping, as everyone is exhausted. We're staying right behind Maidan Nezalezhnosti, though, and even the laziest traveller could not fail to be moved by its beauty.



Post-2014 demonstrations, it is plastered with photos and memorials to the dead. No one goes out in Kiev this time of year except at night, when the fountains explode like fireworks and street musicians busk and young couples laugh and dance in the streets.











We grabbed dinner at an adorable café that, shock of all shocks, had food I could eat: mushroom kasha and vareniki stuffed with sour cherry, and sour cherry infused vodka.







Then exhaustion got the better of us and I probably slept more than I have in months. Awake bright and early now to do proper exploring.

P.S. Sorry for the size and quality of the images; DW's image hosting + being on my iPad makes for an unfortunate combination.







BOS -> YOW & home

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:14 pm
dagibbs: (Default)
[personal profile] dagibbs
Ah, Ottawa. Welcomed home by a thunderstorm and drenched between the airport and my car.

Volunteer social thread #69

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:49 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_volunteers
I'm having a lazy day.

What have you all been up to?

Question thread #54

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:47 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.

Smartphone, dumbperson?

Jul. 13th, 2017 01:16 pm
ironphoenix: (snow)
[personal profile] ironphoenix
A recent study demonstrates that having a smartphone within one's sphere of awareness is distracting, reducing one's ability to concentrate effectively. From the Discussion section of Experiment 1 (p. 146):
[T]hese results suggest that the mere presence of one’s smartphone may reduce available cognitive capacity and impair cognitive functioning, even when consumers are successful at remaining focused on the task at hand.
It seems that it is best to leave the phone out of sight, and preferably even in another room, when doing anything which requires intensive thinking.

(no subject)

Jul. 10th, 2017 12:12 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Cool TV encountered tonight: Victorian Slum House, a show wherein people go back and live in the clothing and conditions of London's East End from 1860 to 1910. (I think they spent a week in each decade, and timeskip forward weekly?)

It's really neat to see history from the POV of poor people, where they can demonstrate the actual effects of social change, big and small, on various different people. The episode I watched was the 1890s, the formation of temperance movements, the Salvation Army, and social housing, and it was very simple and effective in showing both the desperate need for these things, and making the audience empathize with poor people's mistrust of do-gooders and improvement schemes.

It made me have warm fuzzy feelings towards sociologists and social workers all the same, though. We can't move forward without accurate data and committed human beings.

(Other cool TV: Homestead Rescue, where an experienced outdoorsman helps people who are trying and failing to live self-sustainably off the grid. Because as an ex-farmchild I enjoy gloating about how much smarter I am than those silly people. >.< I am not always a good and compassionate person.)

(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2017 09:41 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Uuuuuugh. Today is a bad pain day and I have no idea why–I just hurt all over the way your muscles do when you have the flu. But I’ve checked all my meds and everything–no obvious culprits. The most I can think is that I skipped Aquafit this week.

Maybe it’s worth going to the doctor about maybe having fibro or something after all? I was always under the impression that it would be a worthless waste of time, but there are pain disorders with actually functioning treatments, right?

(Later positive thought: I have a sore throat! Maybe I just have the flu or mono or something "easy" to treat like that! HA HA OH GOD)

YOW -> BOS

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:06 pm
dagibbs: (Default)
[personal profile] dagibbs
I'm off to Boston, well, Peabody/Danvers, MA for the week. And, only a 1-hop flight this time, and planned that way, and a short one at that. Looks like a small plane, too -- 13 rows.

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